Tulane bounces back, gains revenge with win at Southern Miss

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There was so much build-up, such great anticipation for Tulane heading into last week’s game at Ole Miss.

The outcome was very disappointing. The concern was how the Green Wave would respond.

The Battle for The Bell at The Rock proved motivation enough for a good bounceback effort. Tulane’s defense was rock-solid and The Bell is coming back to New Orleans.

Kai Horton threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Green Wave defense stoned Southern Miss in a 21-3 victory Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.

It was gratifying redemption for the Green Wave after losing 27-24 to the Golden Eagles in New Orleans a year ago. This time around, the teacher got the best of the pupil as Willie Fritz bested Will Hall, his former offensive coordinator at Tulane, who recruited Michael Pratt to New Orleans.

Once again, Pratt did not play. It did not matter.

Southern Miss won the toss and deferred.

Tulane said thank you, driving 75 yards in seven plays with Horton scoring on a 1-yard run to give the Green Wave a 7-0 lead with 12:16 to play in the first quarter.

It is the third straight game which Tulane has scored a touchdown on its opening drive. Slade Nagle puts together a good game plan and script to start games.

Frank Gore Jr. missed his tight end Johnson Reed wide open on fourth-and-two at the Tulane 41-yard line. It was a trick play with Gore taking a direct snap, faking a run, stopping and simply missing his receiver, who was all alone for what would have been an easy touchdown.

Andrew Stein missed a 48-yard field goal, negating another scoring opportunity for the Golden Eagles.

Tulane would reach the USM 18-yard line and on fourth-and-two, Willie Fritz passed on a field goal attempt but Horton passed incomplete, turning the ball over on downs to USM.

The Green Wave finished the half with 131 total yards to just 103 for USM. The Golden Eagles possessed the ball for 18:16 to just 11:44 for Tulane. The Green Wave failed to capitalize on very good field position throughout the half. Tulane rushed 14 times for just 26 yards in the first half.

Devean Deal was ejected for targeting in the first minute of the second half as he led with his helmet on a pass rush against Billy Wiles.

Tulane finally expanded the lead on its first possession of the second half when Jha’Quan Jackson caught a 35-yard touchdown pass on a simple swing pass from Horton. Jackson got three good blocks, made two defenders miss, and stayed in bounds, showing his speed to race to the end zone to make it 14-0 with 10:19 to play in the third quarter. The drive covered 70 yards in five plays.

Southern Miss responded, getting on the board for the first time, driving 59 yards in nine plays and a 28-yard field goal by Stein to cut the Tulane lead to 14-3 with 5:45 to play in the third quarter.

Tulane continued the momentum, driving 75 yards in nine plays, with Horton connecting with Chris Brazzell II on a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-3 with 2:03 to play in the third quarter.

Valentino Ambrosio missed a 48-yard field goal with 8:16 to play in the game.

The Tulane defense allowed nothing else.

Tulane held Gore to just 16 yards rushing on 13 carries. Southern Miss had just 36 yards rushing. The Green Wave had three sacks.

Horton finished 12 of 19 for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Makhi Hughes continues to be the best running back. Hughes rushed 14 times for 83 yards.

Tulane returns home to host Nicholls next Saturday before beginning American Conference play against UAB, also at Yulman Stadium.

I stated continuously prior to the start of the season that if Tulane opened 2-1, they would be in good shape to win 10 or more games again. Tulane is 2-1. The Green Wave is in good shape to win 10 or more games, particularly if Pratt returns soon.

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Ken Trahan


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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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